So Malala, my personal favourite person for the year, did not get the Noble Peace Prize (how that happened I can’t even begin to comprehend). The Taliban have been pretty ecstatic about it but guess what? Malala is still on an upward climb. Doors have continued to open for both her and her father and all I can do is wish them all the best and urge them to keep the flag flying.
- Malala Yousafzai was among guests at the reception at Buckingham Palace
- The teenager gave the Queen a copy of her book, I Am Malala
- She said she was passionate about every child having a right to education
By JAMES RUSH
The schoolgirl who survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban because of her campaign for education got the giggles after Prince Philip made a joke during a visit to Buckingham Palace today.
Malala Yousafzai, 16, covered her face with her hand as she laughed following the Duke’s quip that in Britain, people want children to go to school to get them out of the house.
She also presented the Queen with her book as she visited Buckingham Palace as one of the guests at a reception for commonwealth, youth and education, hosted by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.
Malala was shot in the head in Pakistan last October after campaigning for the rights of girls to go to school without fear, in a part of the country where Islamic fundamentalists were trying to impose a strict form of Sharia law.
The teenager, accompanied by her father Ziauddin, gave the Queen a copy of her book, I Am Malala, during their meeting in the palace’s White Drawing Room.
She told her: ‘It is a great honour for me to be here, and I wanted to present you with this book.’
Accepting the gift, the Queen replied: ‘That’s very kind of you.’
Malala told the Queen she was passionate about every child having a right to an education, everywhere around the world.
She added: ‘Especially in this country as well. I have heard about many children that can’t go to school, and I want to continue our work.’
Mr Yousafzai also spoke to the Queen and Duke about their past visits to his home country.
Malala was flown from Pakistan to the UK for emergency treatment after the attack. Surgeons who treated her said she came within inches of death when the bullet grazed her brain in the attack on a school bus.
She was treated at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in Birmingham, and has now settled in the city with her family. Since the attack, she has addressed the United Nations and been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Princess Beatrice and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester were also present at today’s reception, attended by 350 guests from academic institutions around the world.
It included a performance from the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and choir.
Malala said that she would not ordinarily miss a day of lessons – but made an exception.
‘I had to miss school because I was meeting the Queen,’ she said. ‘It’s such an honour for me to be here at Buckingham Palace. It’s really an honour to meet the Queen.
‘I also wanted to raise the issue of girls not being educated on a higher platform so that the government in each country takes action on it.
‘We need to fight for education in the suffering countries and developing countries, but also here.’
She said she particularly enjoyed reminiscing about her home district with the Queen.
‘The most interesting thing was that when I met the Queen, I said, “When you were in your 20s you came to Swat and came to the White Palace, where I’m from”. It is a beautiful valley. It is like paradise on earth.’
Brave: Malala was flown from Pakistan to the UK for emergency treatment after the attack last October
The teenager admitted she had been unsure of the etiquette surrounding being introduced to the Queen before heading to London from her Birmingham home.
‘I was really confused before meeting her, because some people said you have to curtsey, and some people said you should not talk until she talks,’ she said.
‘Then when I met her, it was quite good and she was really nice. She talked to me in a very friendly kind of way.’
Malala said she was hopeful the Queen, and the UK Government, would help her campaign for education.
Asked about the Duke’s joke, she said: ‘He said parents are tired of children, and that’s why they send them to school, and I laughed.’
Princess Beatrice, wearing a dark red Cos dress, dark red and navy Asos jacket and black Kurt Geiger heels, shook Malala’s hand and told her: ‘It’s so wonderful to meet you. What you’ve achieved is just so incredible.
‘It’s an incredible thing to have your campaign. I’m very honoured to be meeting you.’
She added that her mother, Sarah, Duchess of York, would like to meet Malala, adding: ‘She has been completely moved by your strength and what you’ve achieved.’
‘I had to miss school because I was meeting the Queen. It’s such an honour for me to be here at Buckingham Palace. It’s really an honour to meet the Queen’
– Malala Yousafzai
The Queen, wearing a duck-egg blue Angela Kelly outfit, had been presented to a small number of Commonwealth representatives, including the Yousafzais, before returning to speak further to Malala and her father.
Other guests at the reception said it was a privilege to meet Malala.
Yaseen Ebrahim, from Hounslow, west London, who has dual South African and Tanzanian heritage, said: ‘Nelson Mandela said that education is the most important thing that people can have.
‘The best example is Malala, and how she treasures education.’
The 18-year-old said it was ‘an honour’ to meet Malala and to have the chance to discuss education with her.
He added: ‘Pupils in South Africa appreciate education more than here, and yet it is so readily available here, you take it for granted.’
Malala agreed, saying: ‘Nothing is important until you’re deprived of it. I was living in Swat and I couldn’t go to school because of terrorists.’
She also referred to those in India who could not attend classes because of child labour, adding: ‘There are many hurdles in our way to get education.
‘Here in the UK it’s easy for most children to go to school. They don’t realise it, but they’re not just going to school, they’re also building up their future.’
She urged young people to ‘respect’ their right to education and give it the importance it deserves, as well as standing up for those who do not have the same opportunities.
‘We must not be silent,’ she said. ‘We must raise our voice.’
She was also introduced to children from the choir of St Winefride’s School in Manor Park, who had sung for the guests.
I AM MALALA: THE STORY OF HOW A SCHOOLGIRL WAS SHOT FOR STANDING UP FOR EDUCATION
Malala Yousafzai was shot last year on her school bus after angering the Taliban with her brave and outspoken pleas for girls to be educated.
In her autobiography, I am Malala (right), she describes the moment she was shot on her way home from school in the valley of Swat in north-west Pakistan on October 9, 2012.
Malala was travelling with about 20 other girls when a masked man approached their school bus and said: ‘Who is Malala?’
Although no one said a word, some girls looked at Malala and she was the only one with her face uncovered.
In excerpts from her autobiography, published in Parade magazine, she wrote: ‘That’s when he lifted up a black pistol.
‘Some of the girls screamed. [Best friend] Moniba tells me I squeezed her hand.
‘My friends say he fired three shots. The first went through my left eye socket and out under my left shoulder.
‘I slumped forward onto Moniba, blood coming from my left ear, so the other two bullets hit the girls next to me… My friends later told me the gunman’s hand was shaking as he fired.’
The bullet miraculously missed her brain.
She travelled to Britain for treatment but her injuries were so bad that her father asked relatives to start arranging her funeral.
After spending three months recovering in hospital, she and her family now live in Birmingham.
The Duke of Edinburgh may be an old sailor but even he was surprised by an ancient maritime ritual for the renaming of a ship.
Philip was left amused by the ceremony to appease the gods of the sea and four winds which involved burning offerings – and the throwing of champagne.
The event was held so a 19th-century vessel, believed to be the world’s oldest clipper ship, could be given its original name – City of Adelaide.
The Duke, who served in the Royal Navy during the Second World War, has been involved in the project to save the ship which will now be transported back to Australia and preserved.
Built in 1864 as a passenger ship, it carried migrants to a new life in South Australia – taking 65 days to transport people from London to Adelaide.
Its last active employment was as the headquarters of the Clyde Division of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve in Scotland but today it is just a shell without its sails, rudder and fittings.
Andrew Chapman performed the ceremony on the banks of the River Thames at the Old Royal Navy College at Greenwich, south-east London.
In 1869 his great-great-grandfather travelled from Adelaide with his family on the ship back to his native England for a holiday.
With the huge vessel – now just bare timbers and with no sails – in the background on a transporter ship, Mr Chapman, 47, a marine developer from Adelaide, began by burning the clipper’s old name Carrick, written on a piece of paper.
The ashes were thrown into the Thames – to purge its name from the ‘ledger of the deep’ – and then a bottle a champagne was poured on to the foreshore.
Four glasses of bubbly were kept and each was thrown to the four winds – north, east, south and west.
The Duke could not help laughing, and when a glass of bubbly was about to be thrown in his direction he moved backwards in his seat and watched intently but he was spared a shower of alcohol.
Sitting next to him was Bill Muirhead, Agent-General for South Australia, who has been involved in the project to save the vessel.
He said afterwards: ‘When he was chucking the champagne, the Duke said “Watch out – we’ll cop a glass of champagne”.
‘He loved it. He said “That’s very Australian”. He really enjoyed himself. I think he loved seeing the vessel.
‘He thought that was really awesome, and he was interested to know when she would be going to Australia, we hope in May next year.’